Saturday, October 11, 2014

Stinky Scalp Syndrome…It's a thing

  Ever since we brought Jon home he has had a distinctive 'smell' about him. It ranges from mildly annoying to downright nasty stank. I would smell him (usually the top of his head) and immediately haul him off for a bath or shower. I would scrub him and scrub him but he would still smell when he dried off. It would be better, but the smell was still there. I chalked it up to some sort of weird body chemistry, switched him to men's deodorant shampoo/body wash and kept on scrubbing him. I have even been known to spray his hair with Febreeze (desperate times folks) when we were on our way to church/etc and he was especially odiferous.
  Then one day I began googling 'stinky kid', 'stinky head' and 'my kid smells bad'. This is where I found out that there is actually something called Stinky Scalp Syndrome. It is believed to be an overgrowth of the wrong kinds of bacteria/fungus on the scalp. Normal washing does not remove the bacteria/fungus, it just rinses away some of the stinky residue. The noxious organisms continue to cling to the hair strands and scalp and quickly begin churning out their toxic funk again. So now I knew why this poor child was so smelly and why my efforts to keep him clean were not working.
  The next step was how to treat the scalp? I saw many posts of people being given antibiotic and anti-fungal lotions, potions, rinses, etc. Every single person reported a temporary improvement followed by reoccurrence of the smells, even with continued treatment in some cases. Some of these treatments had some very unpleasant side affects, too, like burning skin, intense itching, dry flaking scalp, etc. That didn't sound like what I wanted to put on my young son's head. I kept searching but didn't really find what I was looking for, so I turned to my knowledge of science and the steps we take to keep bacteria and fungi from contaminating our work. It seemed to me that some of the solutions we used were antibacterial/antifungal and also safe on the skin. Aha! I was onto something.
  I ended up using liquid Lysol in a mild solution. I dampen his head, rub it in and let it sit until it dries. Then he showers. At first I used it three days in a row with amazing results. He smelled clean. Then I went to once a week and he stayed clean smelling. I still thought that was a bit much, so now he gets a treatment about once a month. I am happy to report he has had no side effects and he smells great!
  Note, I am not endorsing using Lysol or any other product on your child or on yourself. This is definitely not a recommended use for their product. I am simply reporting what worked for us after many other things failed. Use at your own risk!